Southeastern Michigan communities have been confronting at least three proposed new or expanded massive natural gas pipelines designed to move Pennsylvania, W. Virginia and Ohio fracked natural gas into and through Michigan to Ontario.
Sierra Club opposes the massive ramp-up in natural gas development through fracking nationwide that is one driver of these new pipeline proposals because the drilling, extraction and leakage in its delivery falls far short of the “clean energy” image the industry promotes. In addition, the construction of massive pipelines like these cause significant local environmental impacts as well. Sierra Club leaders in the Michigan Chapter’s Huron Valley, Crossroads, Nepessing and Southeast Michigan Groups are stepping up to the plate to fight pipelines and they encourage your engagement as well.
The proposed pipelines, ET Rover Pipeline, the Nexus Pipeline, and the Utopia Pipeline, would start in either eastern Ohio or western Pennsylvania, cross Ohio and Michigan before entering Ontario, Canada. Current attention is focused on the ET Rover proposal which would build a new pipeline up to 42 inches in diameter from Defiance, Ohio, through Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario. The company is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to weigh whether there are better alternatives to this proposal and whether the environmental impacts are too great to authorize the requested permits.
The first step in the EIS process for ET Rover is for FERC to take public comment under the Scoping Process. Scoping is an initial step in the EIS in which the public needs to raise questions, concerns, provide information and other knowledge that ensures that the agency considers all the questions that need to be addressed. The comments can be broad, such as this EIS needs to fully consider impacts of climate change related to the increased use of natural gas connected to increasing delivery of natural gas to Michigan and Ontario. Or these comments can be very localized, for example identifying sensitive ecosystems or raising specific, local health concerns. Most important is for ALL concerns or questions to be raised now, or they may not be considered in the EIS.
FERC has announced public meetings to take public input in Chelsea (11/20/14), Adrian (12/1/14), Flint (12/10/14), and Richmond (12/11/14). Each meeting starts at 6 p.m. EST, and details on locations are here. The public can also provide written public comments through an online comment system or through regular mail. Comments on the Scoping Process for the FERC EIS are due December 18, 2014. The scoping process is a critical time for the public to weigh in, bringing your questions, information, knowledge, opinions and concerns to FERC to ensure that these issues are addressed or that the permit is denied. Find out more information and Sierra Club contacts on the ET Rover and other natural gas pipeline proposals here.
Source: Sierra Club